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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 342.7 km/sec
density: 0.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2045 UT Nov28
24-hr: A0
2045 UT Nov28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Nov. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Nov 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 5 day
2009 total: 248 days (75%)
Since 2004: 759 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 27 Nov 2009

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.6 nT
Bz: 1.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Nov 28 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2009 Nov 28 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
November 28, 2009

SPACESHIP SIGHTINGS: Would you like a call when the space station is about to fly over your backyard? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.


EXTRATERRESTRIAL AURORAS: Lately, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been monitoring some lovely Northern Lights--on Saturn! Saturn's auroras tower 750 miles above the planet's atmosphere, forming a ring of shimmering light wider than Earth itself. Mission scientist Andy Ingersoll discusses the findings in a 40 MB video from NASA.

SPACESHIP SIGHTINGS: The double flybys are over. Space shuttle Atlantis landed in Florida on Friday morning, Nov. 27th, leaving the International Space Station (ISS) to impress observers all by itself. No problem:

"The ISS put on a great show Friday night," says photographer Michael Harrison of Plano, Texas. "It was easy to see even in the brightly moonlit sky."

The space station, solo but still sensational, will continue flying over North America and Europe for several nights to come. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker to find out when to look.

more images: from Mustafa Erol of Antalya/Turkey; from Keith Geary of Shercock, Co.Cavan, Ireland; from Doug Zubenel of De Soto, Kansas; from Ian Mercier of East Angus, Québec, Canada; from Sylvain Weiller of Saint Rémy lès Chevreuse, France; from Ben Huset of New Brighton, MN; from Bryan Tobias of San Antonio, TX; from Bill Arnold of Woolmarket, MS; from Thomas Faber of Marietta, GA;

CLEAR AIR RAINBOW: Two days ago, photographer Martin McKenna was driving down a country road near Maghera, Northern Ireland, when he saw a curious thing. "There was a faint rainbow arcing through the crystal-clear blue sky," he says. Rainbows usually require rain, so a clear air rainbow is a curious thing indeed. Where did it come from? The answer may be found below McKenna's picture of the phenomenon:

"There was some rain," explains McKenna. "Strong winds had blown some precipitation over from the northwest where showers where gathering in the distance, and this is what caused the 'bow. It looked most unusual."

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley says that there is another way to make clear air rainbows. The method requires conditions of high humidity: "A rainbow can be formed by droplets condensing in a layer of saturated and otherwise apparently clear air. Droplets formed in this way tend to be small, and the rainbows they make are relatively broad."

"Clear air rainbows are always a surprise," he adds, "and where the raindrops come from can be puzzling." Sky watchers should look for them any time the sky is blue.

November Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Novembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

2009 Leonid Meteor Gallery
[previous Leonids: 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

Near-Earth Asteroids
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
On November 28, 2009 there were 1084 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 UK14
Nov. 1
9.1 LD
29 m
2006 JY26
Nov. 2
6.7 LD
10 m
2000 XK44
Nov. 4
28.8 LD
1.1 km
2009 VA
Nov. 6
0.05 LD
6 m
2000 UJ1
Nov. 7
43.3 LD
1.2 km
2009 VT1
Nov. 9
1.4 LD
6 m
2000 TO64
Nov. 10
44.2 LD
1.9 km
2009 UK20
Nov. 12
6.5 LD
20 m
2009 VX
Nov. 12
2.6 LD
26 m
2009 VR
Nov. 13
6.6 LD
10 m
2009 WQ6
Nov. 16
0.9 LD
7 m
2009 WX7
Nov. 16
3.7 LD
20 m
2009 VC1
Nov. 18
6.0 LD
21 m
2009 WJ6
Nov. 20
0.5 LD
14 m
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
Essential Links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government space weather bureau
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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